I’ve been on a Simon Sinek kick recently – but even if you aren’t familiar with him, you’ll still be able to connect with this quote from one of his TED talks:
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Read that a couple times…
…No cheating – actually do it!
… Do it?
That’s a concept worth really digesting for a while.
It’s the entire reason your brand is so important.
People buy your products and services, yes.
But more than that, they’re buying the people behind the product and service.
That’s why I talk about posting “behind the scenes” content to your social media pages and showing more of who you are.
That kind of transparency and genuineness is what people love and buy into – it helps you establish that know like and trust relationship with your audience and potential customers.
Don’t underestimate the power of brand.
Why do you think big companies like Coca-Cola spend so much money to show videos of a polar bear ice skating and drinking a soda?
They know that you may not even drink soda – but maybe you’re having a party and you’re going to buy soda for your guests. Since you’re familiar with the Coca-Cola brand from various places and seeing their polar bear skate around, there’s a greater chance you’re going to buy their product instead of their competitors.
They’ve already built a relationship with you.
Why do you think Starbucks is such a popular brand and can demand such high prices for their drinks?
Because they’ve branded themselves in a way that makes them seem more “high-end.”
Everything from the design of the logo to the decor and furniture in the actual store is intentionally arranged to reinforce their brand.
That’s what you need to be doing.
All of your posts, content, and actions should be in line with your brand.
(If you’re not sure what you should be posting, I created a master list of over 30 ideas for social media posts – you can grab it here)
Think about it like this:
Business is a marathon, not a sprint.
If you’re a business owner, you’re in it for the long haul.
And if you’re in it for the long haul, you need to act like you’re in it for the long haul by building your brand.
Get clear on your brand. What do you stand for? What are your values? How do you want to be known? What’s your vision? What’s your why?
Why do you do business?
Not to make money – everyone is in business to make money.
Figure out what it is that your business truly stands for – keep asking ‘why’ until you get down to something more concrete that people can align with.
You might be wondering where money and sales fit into this picture.
Money is important, but without a long-term branding strategy, you’ll lose out to your competitors that have built a brand people want to do business with.
If you focus too much on making money, you’ll be doing more selling than branding.
Everything you post on social media is going to be asking your audience to buy from you, get a quote, claim an offer, or move further down the sales process in some manner.
But people don’t want to be sold to – they want to make decisions on their own.
Decisions that they can feel good about with a brand that they align with.
Do you just want to be known as the pushy car salesman down the street?
Of course not!
Yet, people get so caught up in the short term ROI on advertising that they gain this kind of reputation – which is negatively impacting their brand!
Don’t get me wrong – ROI is good! It’s good to know how much you’re making on your investment.
So let me ask you this:
What’s the ROI of a kitchen table? Or a picture frame? Or your family?
Some things in life just can’t directly be measured.
Yes, direct sales can be measured and that’s great and all – but if it’s not carefully balanced with branding and marketing then you’re going to lose in the long term.
Why do you think Coca-Cola doesn’t ever run a 25% off sale on their ice skating polar bear commercials?
Because they know that the ROI (whether it can be measured or not) of building a relationship with the viewer is more beneficial in the long run.
There’s no need to reinvent the branding wheel – branding works.
That’s why the biggest companies in the world spend so much time doing it.
So instead of just trying to sell to your audience on social media all the time, focus on your branding.
Show them what you stand for and what you care about.
Show them that you care about them!
The best branding or marketing strategy you can implement in your business is caring about your customers and your audience.
When you show the consumer that you care and that your business’s values align with theirs, they’ll naturally be drawn toward you.
When they have the problem that your product or service can solve, you’ll be the obvious choice – and they’ll even feel good about choosing you!
And if they feel good about choosing you, there’s a better chance they’ll give you a referral, leave you an awesome review, or buy from you again.
Or maybe all three!
Here’s the takeaway:
If you brand yourself properly and stand out from your competition, you’re going to win in the long term.
If you don’t, you’re going to lose.
Building your brand isn’t something you can put off, the stronger you can build your brand in the local community, the better your business is going to do.
If you’re own a local coffeehouse, your brand is your differentiating factor!
If you just sell a generic cup of coffee, then people are just going to go to Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, or McDonalds instead of your coffee shop.
But if you can brand yourself and show your community what you stand for, then you give people something to relate to and connect with.
That’s what helps your customers know, like, and trust you and fosters that relationship that leads to customer loyalty.
You’ll be giving them a reason to choose you instead of your competitor.
That’s the power of branding – and why it’s so necessary for small businesses.
Just ask Coca-Cola. They’ve been around for over 100 years and their goofy ice skating polar bears are still the boss of their industry.
And it’s not because they have better cola than anyone else… even if their powerful brand might have led you to believe otherwise.
It’s because of their brand.
Remember: People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.